By: Frank Hyden
Smackdown this week was the last show before the Royal Rumble and it was a pretty good show. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles promo
Bryan talked about how he’s never won the Royal Rumble and wants to main event WrestleMania again before being interrupted by Styles. He challenged Styles to a match later, which would turn out very different from what it originally was.
GOOD- Bianca Belair beat Bayley
My only complaint about this was that if this was when Belair finally beats Bayley, it should have been hyped up more beforehand. They had a recap package from last week before the match and the announcers tried but they should have hyped this match for a couple of weeks before Belair beat her. Other than that, it was a pretty good match. Belair gave an emotional interview afterwards.
GOOD- King Corbin beat Dominik Mysterio
Rey joined the commentary team for this match. Corbin dominated things, but Dominik got some hope spots before Corbin won. He tried to attack Rey after the match but it didn’t work.
GOOD/BAD- Hype package and interview with Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens
The package was pretty good but the interview was just okay. The best part was when Kevin called out Roman for LARPing a mob boss, which is all he’s doing. That’s fine, and it works to an extent, but they’ve still given no reason why Reigns is able to make and change matches, order people around, bar Owens from the building, etc. They’ve done nothing to establish that. At least when Triple H did that stuff he was married to a McMahon. Everyone watching knows there’s no way Reigns loses in this match, and likely doesn’t lose at WrestleMania either. The only thing that can stop Roman is Covid, specifically the fear of catching it, which is certainly understandable given his cancer history. I’ve seen a lot of people talking that Daniel Bryan is likely to win the Rumble, makes sense and he’s been talking about it a lot. So given that, does anyone think that if Bryan faces Reigns at WrestleMania that he’s going to win? Of course not, the odds would be probably 10% at best. Hell, I could see him holding the belt until SummerSlam. And a lot of the viewers watching know this stuff. They that WWE likes to try to build the loser up right before the PPV, like with Owens last week putting Roman through the table. Or like when the announcers keep bringing up how long a champion has had their belt, that means they’re going to be losing it soon. Or if 2 guys are wrestling and there’s interference, it’s going to get turned into a tag team match. I could go on, but there’s multiple ways to tell what WWE has planned. Sometimes they go against that, but not often, and they love them some Roman Reigns (much the same way the sports media loves them some Tom Brady) so he’s not going to lose until a big PPV like SummerSlam. That deflates a lot of the stuff he’s in because you know that you’re going to have to put up with this unbearable prick for months before someone finally shuts him up. Reigns is an effective heel, he makes you dislike him, you want to see him lose. The problem is, most weeks he’s in multiple segments per show, that turns him into a dark cloud hanging over Smackdown.
Maybe the plan is to build up Big E and have him be the one to dethrone Reigns. That’s cool, but the problem is they’re probably going to do most of the same things during that feud that they’ve done with the Owens one. I’ve also seen some people on social media hoping that when Jimmy Uso comes back that WWE have the Anoa’i Crime Family or something like that, with the Usos and Nia Jax. Maybe you throw Tamina in there as well. Maybe this gives Naomi a chance to do something on TV, I don’t know. That part could be cool, but extending Roman’s title reign…I don’t know. Anyway, I’ll move on.
GOOD- Singles match becomes tag, becomes 6 man tag, becomes 10 man tag
It started as Bryan vs. Styles, then turned in to Bryan, Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn, then turned into Bryan, Big E, Nakamura, Otis (and eventually Sheamus) vs. Styles, Cesaro, Zayn, Miz, and John Morrison. This was a fast-paced match with so many guys involved and I liked it. Eventually, the faces won but then Braun Strowman returned and cleared the ring as the show ended and the announcers put Strowman over as a likely favorite in the Rumble match.
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank